Thursday 29 October 2015

persistence of vision

The splendiferous Nag on the Lake directs our attention to a lovingly curated gallery of mesmerizing phenakistoscope animations, whose looping effect (and themes, perhaps) are not much different than what’s produced by GIFs (which I have been kind of obsessed with lately).
Debuting in the early 1830s, the invention of Belgian Joseph Plateau but with several other independent animateurs promoting their own spectacles, the phenakistoscope spread quickly across Europe, the engaged audiences viewing a spinning disk through a series of tiny slits to achieve the illusion of motion. Until opticians devised techniques of projection—which saw an explosion in phantasmagoria with similarly prefixed motion picture devices—spectators had the Greek root ϕενακιζειν, which meant deceptive. I hadn’t thought about it beforehand but the German term for an animated feature is “Trickfilm.”